CSIS Expert Claims President-Elect Trump Has No North Korea Strategy

Here is what one expert thinks of President-Elect Trump’s North Korea strategy:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump appears to lack a plan on how to deal with North Korea even though his administration is set to take off in less than a month, a U.S. expert said Sunday.

Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also said in an interview with CBS television that the Trump foreign policy team doesn’t seem to have a full strategy yet on China.

North Korea is “not an issue that Trump knows a lot about,” Glaser said, adding that the concern for the United States is that the North Koreans could pose an existential threat to the homeland if they can make a nuclear warhead that can potentially reach U.S. territory.

“Do we have a strategy that focuses on defense? Do we take a much more aggressive posture against North Korea?” Glaser said, wondering about Trump’s plan. “Some people are raising the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on a missile, if it’s on a launch pad, because we don’t know what’s atop that missile, whether it’s a satellite or a nuclear warhead.

“There may be some discussions about whether we really need to try to cut off trade and harm North Korea’s economy, go beyond sanctions that are really focused on depriving North Korea of weapons of mass destruction,” she said.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but North Korea is not an “existential threat to the homeland”.  The Kim regime would need a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons along with the transport erector launchers (TELs) to launch them to be able to destroy a country the size of the United States.  Plus the DPRK’s warhead technology would have to be advanced enough to defeat the US’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.  The Kim regime’s nukes are at best a deterrent that puts a handful of US cities at possible risk if military action is taken to remove the Kim regime.

As far as sanctions they obviously are not working to stop the Kim regime’s WMD programs because of China.  As North Korean diplomat turned defector Thae Yong-ho has already said, the Kim regime understands it can get away with nuclear development because the Chinese will do nothing to stop them.

It is pretty clear that the incoming Trump administration does have a plan, it is just that it is one that is going to focus on China instead of North Korea which Glaser has already pointed out:

“It looks to me like Trump is trying to keep China off balance, to try and signal that he’s not necessarily going to conduct business as usual in the same way that it has been conducted over the last eight years under Obama and that he thinks it can appear that he can gain some leverage by signaling a willingness to confront China,” Glaser said.

Trump’s Taiwan Phone Call Part of Strategy to Pressure China On North Korea

Here is the latest on the Trump phone call with the President of Taiwan that the media was initially trying to frame as him bungling US foreign policy:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president shows the incoming administration believes China should work hard on North Korea as much as it cares about the cross-strait issue, a transition team official was quoted as saying Tuesday.

The official made the remark during a meeting with a group of South Korean lawmakers, pointing out that China has been unwilling to use its influence over Pyongyang even though Beijing provides most of the North’s energy and food supplies, according to the participating lawmakers.

They declined to identify the official.

On Friday, Trump spoke by phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, breaking the decadeslong diplomatic tradition that the U.S. has kept under its “One China” policy since severing ties with Taiwan and normalizing relations with Beijing.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province that must be unified with the mainland and rails against any support for Taiwan’s independence or the notion that the island is not part of the country. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties, the U.S. has maintained friendly relations with Taiwan.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Trump Selects General James Mattis as the Next Secretary of Defense

Some readers may remember that General James Mattis was the person that an anonymous collective of conservatives were supposedly trying to recruit for a third party run for President.  Instead he is now going to be the next Secretary of Defense for the soon to be President Trump:

“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense. But we’re not announcing it until Monday, so don’t tell anybody,” Trump told his supporters in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Keep it inside the room,” he added jokingly.

Mattis, who served in the Marines from 1969 until his retirement in 2013, represents a big change from the current secretary of defense, the bookish Ashton Carter, a former Harvard professor who was trained as a physicist.  [Yahoo News]

You can read more at the link.

Korean-American Who Played Role in the Trump Campaign Interviewed by the Joong Ang Ilbo

I did not realize that the only Asian who spoke at the Republican National Convention was a Korean-American that was part of Donald Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.  She recently gave an interview to the Joong Ang Ilbo about the election of Donald Trump:

Lisa Shin, who served as an adviser to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump during his presidential campaign, says there is much enthusiasm about Donald J. Trump. [LISA SHIN]

Lisa Shin, who served as an adviser to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump during his presidential campaign, says there is much enthusiasm about Donald J. Trump. [LISA SHIN]

Among the speakers for the 2016 Republican National Convention in July was Lisa Shin, a Korean-American ophthalmologist. She was the only Asian-American who spoke at the event. Dr. Shin has served as one of the 60 advisers to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, the U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump’s campaign organization established with the stated aim of reflecting the will of ethnic minorities in America.“I think for Hillary, she had a lot of paid people,” said Dr. Shin during a phone interview with the JoongAng Ilbo. “But I didn’t hear a lot about grass-roots activists like I did with Trump. I believe that there was so much momentum, energy and enthusiasm with Trump. Hillary was disconnected from the people. She was what we call elite. She thought she was privileged.”

Dr. Shin is expected to play an advisry role representing Korean-Americans in the Trump administration, although she has not received any formal requests from the transition team yet. The following is an excerpt from the interview.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read the rest of the interview at the link.  It will be interesting to see if she receives an appointment somewhere within the Trump administration.

Donald Trump Meets with Korean-American Michelle Rhee About Secretary of Education Appointment

Considering Rhee’s very controversial background running the Washington, DC school system that included allegations of a widespread cheating scandal, she seems an odd choice to run the Department of Education:

President-elect Donald Trump looks on as Michelle Rhee, a former chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools, and her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, leave Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Carolyn Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article115941728.html#storylink=cpy

President-elect Donald Trump looks on as Michelle Rhee, a former chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools, and her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, leave Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016.  [Sacramento Bee]

President-elect Donald Trump will meet Saturday with Michelle Rhee, a Democrat and former District of Columbia public schools leader who is considered in the running for secretary of education.

Rhee will meet with Trump, a Republican, at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is also meeting with former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, purportedly being considered for secretary of state.

Jason Miller, Trump communications director, confirmed the Rhee meeting Saturday morning with FoxNews.com.

Like Trump, Rhee has been a supporter of school choice, backing some public money for charter schools while the D.C. schools chancellor from 2007 to 2010.

Trump’s School Choice Policy released in September calls for his incoming administration to “immediately” redirect $20 billion in federal funds to school choice — in the form of block grants for an estimate 11 million school-age children living in poverty.  [Fox News]

You can read more at the link.

John Bolton Rules Out Pre-Emptive Strike On North Korea

A candidate for a future Secretary of State under the Donald Trump administration says that there is “zero” chance of a pre-emptive US strike on North Korea:

John Bolton, considered a top candidate for secretary of state under the incoming administration of Donald Trump, said Wednesday the U.S. won’t launch a preemptive strike against North Korea, according to a South Korean lawmaker.

Bolton, who served as a top nonproliferation official under George W. Bush and is known for hawkish views on North Korea and other security threats, made the remark when he met with a group of South Korean lawmakers, according to Rep. Na Kyung-won of the ruling Saenuri Party.

Bolton even said there is “zero” chance of a U.S. preemptive attack on the North, according to Na.

“He said he’s well aware of how much price South Korea should pay in that case,” the lawmaker said. “He said the North Korean nuclear issue is being considered a top issue of concern due to the North’s nuclear tests and missile launches.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.